PALM SUNDAY OF THE LORD’S PASSION
Food, Glorious Food. Do you remember that line? It was the title of a song from the musical called “Oliver!”, as in Oliver Twist, the Charles Dickens novel. The song was sung by a bunch of street urchins in an orphanage in 19th century London. In a sense, it was a love song about the sustenance that they got so little of.
We are so fortunate in these times to have enough food to not only keep us sustained, but also to entertain us. Food is indeed glorious. And God meant for it to be that way. He arranged for many different types of foods and for spices to flavor it, and of course, the taste buds to taste it. Yes, food is a gift from God and it is meant to be enjoyed.
Last Sunday night I watched TV show about food, but not the type of show I’m sure you’re thinking about. There are many food shows out there that teach us how to cook it, how to eat it, and even how to appreciate it, maybe even to the point of making food an idol. Food experts take their cameras into diners, dives, drive-ins and fancy restaurants all over the world to see how people pamper their palate. But this show was different. It was a panel discussion among several theologians who were hosting the author of a book called The Catholic Table: Finding Joy Where Food and Faith Meet. The author was Emily Stimpson Chapman and I was so impressed by her presentation that I asked Shawnie to order a few copies for our bookstore.
Emily is a food aficionado. She loves food. She loves to eat it, and cook it, and she loves to feed others. She is a promoter of hospitality and frequently has many guests over to her house to enjoy meals together. What is interesting, however, is that she admits to having had a struggle with anorexia in her younger years. Food, or lack of food, had indeed become an idol for her. All the conventional therapies failed to help, but ironically, she eventually found her healing in a particular type of feasting. She became a Catholic and was healed in the Eucharist, the glorious food which is Jesus himself, body, blood, soul and divinity, in consecrated bread and wine.
This Thursday evening we will be celebrating the Institution of the Eucharist. Jesus called his disciples together for one final meal in which he would be the host, the chef, the maître d’, and ultimately the meal itself. He was the new Passover Lamb, the Living Bread come down from Heaven, and the source of Living Water. He chose to be truly present to us as our spiritual food and drink. Now that’s the true glorious food!
Just before the Mass of the Last Supper on Thursday evening, the Lenten fast will come to an end. But, we are encouraged to continue our fasting up until our feasting on Easter Sunday when many of us will have sumptuous meals to celebrate the Lord’s resurrection. Remember that on Holy Saturday morning we will have a blessing of Easter food here in the church. You are all welcome to come with your baskets at 9:00am.
You are also welcome to attend the Easter Vigil Mass. It’s longer and more elaborate than any mass during the year because we celebrate such an important event. We will also be welcoming a new catechumen and candidate into the Church at the vigil. It begins after dark on Saturday evening (8:30pm). Remember, no 4:00pm Mass that day, and the Parish office will be closed on Monday. Fr. J